New York Governor Introduces "State Hand Sanitizer" Made by Inmates

New York is solving the coronavirus hand sanitizer shortage with a prison labor solution.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a unique solution to the hand sanitizer shortage problem caused by coronavirus: state prison-produced hand sanitizer. Since coronavirus reached the United States, hand sanitizer has been nearly impossible to find. So what better way to solve that problem than to employ the New York state's prison inmate worker population?

Cuomo announced the new product during a coronavirus-focused press conference Monday morning. He said that the product is not only cheaper than brands made by greedy commercial businesses but that it will be readily available to New York government agencies, the MTA, schools, and even the prisons where it's being made, according to the New York Post.

The sanitizer is being manufactured by Corcraft, the state Corrections Department's manufacturing service powered by state prison inmate workers. "It's much cheaper for us to make it ourselves than to buy it on the open market," Cuomo said, noting that a gallon of the state-produced product costs $6 to make.

"As the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus continues to rise, unscrupulous retailers are exploiting New Yorkers' anxieties about the virus and charging exorbitant prices for hand sanitizer and other similar products," Cuomo said at the press conference. "To solve this problem, the state is producing and deploying hand sanitizer to high impact areas as well as schools, the MTA, and other government agencies because you can't get it on the market and the product that is available is very expensive."

A press release reads:

To help combat price-gouging and ensure New Yorkers have access to this vital prevention method, the state will produce up to 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer each week in 1.7 oz., 7 oz. and gallon bottles. The hand sanitizer will be made available to residents free of charge, and distribution will be prioritized by the most impacted and high risk communities, including the New Rochelle community, and state agencies, including the MTA.

The severe shortage of hand sanitizer due to coronavirus panic has led to a flurry of homemade recipes, and even some backlash from spirits distributors insisting that their products are better left for drinking. DIY recipes call for one part aloe gel to two parts isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol), which are also the basic ingredients in the New York state-produced version.

While this product is intended for New York state organizations and operations, it is not yet clear if it will ever be made available for commercial sale. The demand for antibacterial hand sanitizer is so much greater than current supply, this may be the economic boon the Empire State so sorely needs right now.

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